Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A New Affinity: Big East Preview

Welcome back kids. I hope you all had a chance to see last week's recap.

As I'm looking at this week's slate of games, I find myself really enjoying the Big East. The scheduling is such a breathe of fresh air. None of this "it's week 7 time to get into the conference doldrums," Oh no, this is pure scheduling delight. Now you might say this is because the Big East only has 8 teams. But I say, "variety is the spice of life". Dammit Big East, you get out there and you play whomever your little hearts desires.

And with that variety comes a slate of just terrible games this week. Trying to figure out which one is GOTW worthy is anyone's guess. Ah but there among the rubble sits a beautiful little number. One that may only have a portion of two campuses on-fire. But dammit, it's happening. So, I am going to feature a rivalry of two schools that are separated by a mere hour and forty-five minute drive down a single highway. A contest for border dominance. Friends, it's the battle for the Keg Of Nails

I give you this week's Big East GOTW:

Louisville (2-3) @ Cincinnati (4-1) 12:00 ET Gameplan/ESPN3

How many rivalry games can say they've spanned three conferences? Actually probably a few. But, this is Louisville's oldest rivalry. And, it should be a pretty decent game. We have a pretty decent offense (UC at 36th overall) verse a pretty decent defense (UL 16th overall). Something is going to have to give.

And I think that something is going to happen on the other sides of the ball. You see the Bearcats actually have a decent enough defense (40th overall) compared to the Cardinals dismal 94th ranked offense. And I think Vegas agrees. Currently Cincinnati is a 16.5 point favorite. And that line started out at UC -13. 

Not so fast my friends!

Look Cincinnati's strength is it's run game on offense. Ranked 16th in the nation they do their damage on the ground. Louisville's strength on defense? You guess it, it's their run defense. Ranked 10th in the nation, they'll have a good chance of shutting down the UC attack. Louisville has to force SR QB Zach Collaros to air it out. If the Cardinals can do that, they could be in business.

Now, looking at the other side of the ball, UL won't have a chance running the ball. The Bearcats are the fifth ranked rushing defense in the country. But, that's great news since UL doesn't run the ball all that well. FR QB Teddy Bridgewater is going to have to step up in this game and take advantage of Cincinnati's 104th ranked passing D. If he can have success, UL can sneak into The Queen City and get a W. 

I think this game has potential, but I'm not sure the Freshman is going to be able to get it done. I think it's going to be closer than the 16.5 point spread and definitely under the 48.5. Cincinnati 24-17.

Now for the rest:

Utah (2-3) @ Pitt (3-3) 12:00 ET ESPNU
What Pitt team is going to show up this game? The one that dominated USF or the one that got dominated by Rutgers? Who knows? What I do know is Utah lost it's starting QB and is struggling in PAC-12 play. The line is Pitt -7, again mostly because no one has any idea about this Pitt team. I like Sunseri to exploit the 99th ranked passing defense at home. Pitt 34-13.

Navy (2-3) @ Rutgers (4-1) 2:00 ET ESPN3
When the Middies come to town you better make sure your LBs have their heads screw on right and are ready to tackle. The money is flowing to the Rutgers side as the line as grown to -4. I have to agree. Rutgers is pretty good against the run. Rutgers 34-27.

South Florida (4-1, 0-1) @ UConn (2-4, 0-1) 3:30 ET GamePlan/ESPN3
This game has the scent of a blow out to me. UConn's two wins are over Fordam and Buffalo. Granted USF hasn't done anything since they beat a confused Irish team in week 1. But, with a week off to regroup after the Pitt debacle, I think the Bulls will get it done. USF 38-10.

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